One of the four remaining Catholic high schools in Hudson County almost heard its final dismissal bell in June 2017 when it faced financial struggles. Now, the school is back and better -- and has a new president.
"I'm very confident. I'm very energized," said Peter G. Kane, Marist High School's new president. "I would not have taken this job if I didn't believe and know in my heart that I could be successful."
Kane, who was appointed last week, will be involved in all aspects of the school's finances, including fundraising, donor cultivation, grant administration and strategic planning.
Marist, Bayonne's sole Catholic high school, grappled to stay open beyond the 2016-17 school year. It even announced closure unless $1.5 million was raised. But after extensive fundraising, the school managed to keep serving its community as it has since 1954, when it first opened.
Tuition, including fees, at Marist is around $10,000 per school year. Students have the option to earn an associate degree from Hudson County Community College upon graduation at no additional cost.
While enrollment dipped at Marist as its fate dangled in the balance, the 2018-19 school year is looking up, Kane said.
"We have met and exceeded our projection. Our enrollment is growing," said Kane, who declined to say how many students are enrolled. "We have plans and strategies in place to meet or exceed our previous enrollment."
Part of those plans is to lease some of the excess land the multi-acre campus sits on, Kane added.
"There are some sound development opportunities," added Kane, who was senior director at the New Jersey Housing & Mortgage Finance Agency. "That could easily ensure the long-term viability and success of Marist."
Alice J. Miesnik, now principal, took on responsibilities of both president and head of school for four years. To ensure the school's success, the return to the president-principal leadership model allows for each position to focus on its area of expertise, Kane added.
The president tackles the school's financial work, while the principal focuses on the educational development of students.
"I signed on as president to sustain and grow and make Marist successful," Kane said. "It will be successful."